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Great Maple Equals A Great Reason To Drive to The San Gabriel Valley

If you're like me, you hate driving out to boring old Pasadena. As quaint as that picturesque little town is, there's just nothing to do there except eat and drink- and there's only so much of that you can do before making yourself sick. Great Maple, however, is worth tossing all those excuses out the window and making a day of checking this place out with your friends or family.

First things first: Make reservations! The wait on a Sunday for brunch is almost an hour. Of course, it is in a nice area where you can walk around and duck into the shops nearby while you wait. The parking is also a bit hard to find, especially on the streets, so bring your cash for the lots.

The place itself is spacious and lovely, but also loud and hectic. Get ready for crying babies and stressed-out servers on the weekends. Service is as friendly as you would want, but you can tell they're overworked.

Food-wise, the menu is impressive. The food is higher-quality than you would expect from a restaurant in an outdoor shopping mall. The presentation is always attractive and the flavor is up there with some of the best. You have your choice of breakfast and brunch foods like French Toast Logs with maple bacon syrup, Croque Madames done the true-blue French way, and Fried Chicken & Donuts with buttermilk fried chicken, maple bacon donuts, & maple syrup. They also offer hearty lunch & dinner options like Bar-B-Que Brisket sandwiches, turkey burgers, and ancient grains salads.

Portobello Mushroom Fries With Basil Pesto Aioli — by Juvi Guevara
Portobello Mushroom Fries With Basil Pesto Aioli — by Juvi Guevara

The sides alone are a great reason to try this place out. The Truffled Deviled Eggs & Portobello Fries are amazing starters and leave nothing to be desired either in taste or in portion sizes.

Fried Chicken & Donuts- LE-GIT! The fried chicken is perfectly-cooked, tender, crispy, and complimented so well by those maple bacon donuts that you'll be tempted to order another one. Each dish comes with two portions of each.

Fried Chicken & Donuts With Maple Syrup — by Juvi Guevara
Fried Chicken & Donuts With Maple Syrup — by Juvi Guevara

Croque Madame- Also LE-GIT! Excruciatingly-cheesy, (in a good way), gooey, hearty from those hams & egg, protein-packed, & wholesome on so many levels. The taste is all there, so please, order it and take the rest if you must.

The Signature Prime Rib Dip- Fall-apart prime rib, horseradish sour cream, crispy onions, au jus, all on an Artisinal French bread roll. If hearty is what you're looking for, this is the one for you. The side of fries it comes with is also a surprising mix of lightness & crispness the likes of which I haven't experienced in a while.

Drinks-wise, I'd say go for the specialty cocktails if you're a drinker. The Bear Espresso-Ties made with espresso, Kahlua, & Baileys is a great caffeinated starter if you love your java. Otherwise, the Blackberry Cobbler is a great refreshing drink to cleanse the palate before or after the decadent meal; just a hint of sweetness and a whole lot of alcohol.

Berry Cobbler Cocktail — by Juvi Guevara
Berry Cobbler Cocktail — by Juvi Guevara

Overall, prepare to spend quite a bit when you come, plan ahead if it's more than just you, and make time to find that parking!